Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Terry’s delectable ‘Salmon en Papillote’, which I did on the Weber grill. Zucchini, thyme, cream-cheese and salmon-trout parceled up to seal in the flavours. I heated the weber for ten minutes with the lid on, and then put the parcels onto the braai-sheet. Cooking time was 10minutes for the 2 cm thick fillets.

Striving for a limited pallet of colours to take on the trip to Vietnam has been derailed. the 8 colours (Ultramarine blue, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Cadmium yellow light, Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, Pthalo Veridian, Cadmium yellow deep) being increased with Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue which I seem to use a bunch, as well as specific colours given the tropical colours I expect to find in the waters of Vietnam. Cobalt Turquoise, Phtalo Blue Green, Cerulean Blue and Bright Yellow. I will probably take either the bright yellow, or cadmium yellow deep and ditch the Phtalo Veidian. Naples yellow is also an option depending on how the suitcase packs. 

My small cabin bag doesn’t take the pad of linen canvases which I have in addition to the tube of six larger canvas sheets that I hope to paint. My idea still being to paint in acrylic while travelling which I will stretch when I get home and finish with oil paint. Hence, I’m using the larger suitcase with the temptation to add addition stuff, but I know this has to be carried onto trains, ferry’s planes and through streets of varying surfaces.


A study, based on a painting by Joaquín Sorolla, using acrylics and permanent marker on 350gram paper showed that I will need clamps to keep the edges from curling while the painting dries.
Cuisine to be savored, or as a diabetic, to understand the impossible cravings of an addict. Perhaps Le Maquis is one of those places where magic happens, and rather than a door, you pass through a portal. Time suspended. Senses heightened. Fragrance woven in mystery.

Chef Remy was understanding at our late arrival and we were soon in discussion about the flavours of the amuse-bouche, which set the trend for an evening of scrumptious food. The coconut bite with coffee, an attentive detail. 

Prince happily settled with Hachico, Jenny and Clive in the apartment. Chaos of the first hours, muted into constant play mode. Clive’s enthusiastic engagement in the studio, a small elephant painting heading to its new home in New Zealand.

Bags packed and last sorting for the trip.

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

My collarbone a tad unhappy. Never a good idea to fall off your bicycle, particularly at the bottom of a decent. Only made a tad better by it being into soft sand. Legs a tad wobbly after an East-Head jog. Sea freezing. B’fast stunning.

The painting ‘A Moment in Time’ is crated and heading to Atlanta. A few splinters from building the crate, and only one dubious measurement incurred.

Air of Harbour Town reverberating with the assault of high octane, supercharged engines. The Motorshow and Simola Hill Climb are back. The Simola hill being converted into a racetrack, with the safety barriers hopefully only in place for awesome photographs. Nothing about them making the cycle any easier.

The portrait ‘Herder’ is finally sorted A spot of intense white (Its actually and combination of light yellow and blue, which when viewed next to the dark Alizarin crimson and Ultramarine blue looks like a brilliant white), a tad distracting. However, it’s an unexpected accident that I’m comfortable with. 

My legs coated in a sticky sheen. Goo from the bicycle front wheel, pierced by a glass shard. As I did not carry a puncture kit, I was lucky that it happened close to home and I could make my way back to the Caltex for a Seattle cappuccino.

Terry made a Tomato and Crab salad with basil pesto, from the new book by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. Delectable. Salmon pasta and a tiramisu desert, both favourites that we haven’t had for ages. 

TOMATO AND CRAB SALAD WITH BASIL PESTO
SERVES: 4

DIFFICULTY: EASY

PREPARATION TIME: 20 MINUTES + 2 HOURS CHILLING 

INGREDIENTS
Mixture of fresh tomatoes, washed and quartered

Buffalo mozzarella cheese

Fresh herbs for garnishing 

FOR THE CRAB SALAD
45 ml crème fraîche

15 ml wholegrain mustard

250 g crab meat (tinned, fresh or thawed)

10 ml minced chives

5 ml green Tabasco sauce

Olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime juice (1/2 lime)

FOR THE BASIL PESTO
1 CLOVE GARLIC, PEELED

Sea salt 

Large bunch basil, leaves picked and washed

60 g pine nuts

45 ml extra virgin olive oil

60 g Parmesan cheese, grated

Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD
Mix all the ingredients for the crab salad in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Season to taste and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the basil pesto, bash the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt. 

Add the basil leaves and pine nuts and crush to a coarse paste. Add the olive oil and stir in the Parmesan, adding a little water if you would like it runnier. 

Continue until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the salad, use a pastry brush to paint a thick line of basil pesto across the centre of the plate. 

Use a small mould of your choice and create two circles of the crab salad. Mix the tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss until well covered. 

Arrange the tomatoes on the basil pesto between the crab salad and top with pieces of buffalo mozzarella. Garnish with fresh herbs.

http://www.janhendrikblog.com/seasonal/2015/10/1/tomato-and-crab-salad-with-basil-pesto

Diary of an Adventure

Jozie Adventure

Sunrise through the mist, chimneys of steam, shadows of a past age. The glint of the high speed Gautrain. A Turner painting, in another age. 

Gautrain, a fabulous way to travel and certainly a stress free way of getting to the Vietnam Embassy in Hatfield for our visas. The staff were friendly, helpful and efficient.
A row of derelict shops, festooned with weary ‘To-Let’ signs, slowly sliding into the abyss of decay or, cheap Chinese plastic goods. Or simply, the inevitable cycle of development boom and ruin, as student accommodation demands revitalise retail stress. 
Within this, sandwiched between a failed tattoo parlour , and a dodgy computer shop is the trendy +27 CAFe. The tiny entrance, misleading as the seating area is at the rear under a shed type structure. Winner of architectural and interior awards, the coffee was as good as it gets, even if the menu structure is as inflexible as one of the steel struts.
Birdsong and the smell of wet khakibos on my jog. The hills giving my troublesome Achilles a work-over. 
The search for Vibrum Five-finger shoes to replace my daily slip-slops (Apparently they aggravate Achilles problems) not as simple as expected here in the big City. No longer fashionable, they aren’t easily available, and I wasn’t thrilled with the alternatives. Fortunately I found a pair on-line. What I did find on my search, was Tony Impy’s cycling shop in the old Bedfordview Village shopping centre.
Early morning in the big city. Cappuccino, the drink of deals. Lives changed between cooling gym sweat and that first sip. Body language. Spoons. Sugar. Negotiation. Car keys thrown like bargaining chips on the table. Cyclists, a Tribe.
‘Take me on a journey’. Barrister championship training. Tamping and polishing. Consistency. Roast profile. Sensory. Cloth. Wiping. Hands. Cleaning. 

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 The exhibition in the studio changed for the Knysna Literary Festival with poems from Terry’s collection ‘Thank you Calliope’, on the walls between the paintings. Great that people are reading the poems and buying the books. It’s the first time I have been able to see the three paintings I did of the fish market in Dar Es Salaam displayed together.

 

Aly and Eugene here from France for the week. Rain sweeping in over the lagoon. Chasing us inside for chats, red wine and not enough sleep. 

Surprisingly, for me, the Chardonnay was a much better accompaniment than Pinot to the excellent calamari with cabanossi and olive dish that Hirsh cooked for us. Lime and chilly fish with bok choy parcels infused with delicate flavours. A hint of crunchiness from the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. The De Toren Diversity quite stunning. 

Walking alongside an elephant, at the Knysna elephant park, as the light peers through the morning mist must be one of the most remarkable experiences possible. 

Yes, the eye that gazes down at you, from beneath those long lashes, is one of amused tolerance. And there is something slightly nerve wracking about having two tons of elephant towering above you. 

But also something deeply humbling and moving about being in contact with the elephant. Especially if you are lucky enough to have that contact when their stomach rumbles. Remarkable. A hundred years of collective sorrow that we have mercilessly slaughtered them for something as useless as their tusks. 

Whether you can accept that they are trained, alive and happy, rather than free and dead is something each individual has to work through. The handlers of the elephant have Fiberglas rods with bullhooks for handling that I still find disturbing. Even if used as a guide and not a weapon. However, my walk with the 20 year old Nandi was managed with gentle words, to which she responded. With amused tolerance.

Seeing part of the herd running through lush grassland was breathtaking. 

Paintings sold from the studio, with a couple of small paintings completed of elephants. On the easel, a painting of the guy who sells his forest herbs and medications.

The Chase

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm 

  

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Phantom Pass, famous for its legend surrounding the death at the top of the pass of the Italian heroin, Victoria Esposity, and her horse by lightning while on route to try and get permission to transport prospective silk farmers on a ship back to England. 

An enjoyable cycle that had me short of breath and exposed the flaws in my bicycle skills, as I bounced between the trees on the short single-track from the red-bridge, before sliding off the road into the drainage ditch. No blood! Hands and bum bruised from the unaccustomed exercise. Legs, feeling the fatigue of the jog with its hills that Craig took me on.

‘Joseph Jazz’, a portrait of the jazz singing car guard outside Shopright. His skin, polished Michelangelo marble, with the complex colours of a jazz club. 

I used a combination of Indian Yellow, Monaco Madder (Van Dyk 41), Ultramarine Blue, and Permanent Madder Deep. For the highlights, Naples Yellow Golden and a grey made up from Cobalt Blue and Venetian Red. 

Excited that the painting has been sold off the easel.

The French antique cupboard back from Design-Wise with its new shelf system for the glasses. Last box unpacked and we are now managing the impact of wind on long stemmed glasses. The e-towel working a treat to keep the glasses shiny and clean.

Mum wanted a braai on her last night with us, and with fresh figs available we looked for a way of combining them. Herb grilled rack of lamb, with thyme grilled figs seemed a good option. The fire hot, so I grilled the chops a whisper too long. The figs grilled perfectly on the baking sheet while the lamb rested. Served with thin green beans and asparagus.

Grilled Rack of Lamb With Fresh Herbs And Roasted Figs

Ingredients

SERVINGS: 6

LAMB CHOPS

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme 

4 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram

2 2-pound racks of lamb, trimmed of fat and sinew

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

ROASTED FIGS

12 ripe Kadota figs, halved lengthwise

16 sprigs lemon thyme or regular thyme
PREPARATION
For lamb:

Combine herbs in small bowl. Rub lamb with olive oil, half of chopped herbs, and garlic; cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat grapeseed oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper; sear until brown on both sides, 5 minutes total. Transfer lamb to large rimmed baking sheet; roast to desired doneness, about 20 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to cutting board; let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Maintain oven temperature; reserve baking sheet for figs.

For figs:

Place figs and thyme sprigs on baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining herbs and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Roast in oven at 425°F for 10 minutes.

Cut lamb racks into individual chops; arrange on plates and place figs alongside.

Messing About with Paint

I’m William

In his new home

I’m William, Oil on Canvas 76cmx102cm

I used a limited ‘Zorn’ palette of Burnt Sienna (Red earth colour) and Raw Sienne (yellow earth colour), with Ultramarine Blue. Fun to use because you have to focus on the value structure and the warm/cool dimension. You also watch your edges more. This really makes you pin down the structure of what you are representing and the light.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

I’m not the worlds best aubergine fan, however the aubergine rolls that Hirsh made were sensational. Grilled slices of aubergine, filled with ricotta and spiced with za’atar, mint, basil and chili. The flavours in the Gurnard cooked with tomatoes and bacon were amazing. A touch of genius by adding granadilla to the berry and chocolate dessert. I’m glad I wasn’t driving back to the apartment!

Polly spent the morning barking at everything walking past the studio, so after Tim and Sarah had collected their painting, I walked her up to Tapas with Craig, Coreta and Diva to give her an outing and different stimulation. Obviously, two days in the studio with me painting were driving her a tad crazy. She chased boats, and barked with Diva at a couple of dogs walking past while we had a bottle of wine and some sushi.

I’ve had a few people through the studio. An artist from London who paints nudes spent quite a long time looking at my portraits and discussing various techniques and surfaces to paint on. Interestingly she has moved away from rectangular canvases as she says they feel like her paintings are in a coffin!

Three small paintings of seahorses inspired by the Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis). Endangered, it’s an enchanting greenish-brown (can also be yellow, white) creature, a bit larger than the palm of your hand that has survived for 40million years.

They are elusive and masters of disguise. By blending them into the background and using colours of fantasy, the seahorses in the paintings are things of mystery. The challenge to make the three panels work together as a unit, or individually.

  

  
The wind has stilled, and the lagoon is a reflecting pool for the lights. Perfect for that last glass from Craig’s superb Sequillo ’04. 

The kitchen is sorted. Polly has had her walk. Cleaned her dishes, and there are minimal leftovers.

Rack of lamb, rubbed with the magic Blue-Sky organic salt, was an excellent foil to the roasted cauliflower with brown butter and Parmesan. The hint of smokiness from the grill, rather than the oven, worked well with the anchovy and chili that was melted into the butter. With a cool wind blowing across the Weber, it took all of 30 minutes to get the lamb done and every bit of the hour and a half for the cauliflower. A fresh caprese salad with avo, from Coreta, worked perfectly to add visual and freshness to the meal. Managed a fair amount of Black Rock ’08.

I certainly had more cauliflower than I would have thought possible!

Thrilled that the painting of ‘I’m William’ is sold.

  

Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter
1 cauliflower

1 tablespoon canola oil

3 ounces/80 grams butter, at room temperature or softened

kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 425˚F/220˚C.

Cut the stem off the cauliflower as close to the base as possible and remove any leaves. Rub oil all over the cauliflower.

Put the cauliflower in an oven-proof skillet. Slide the pan into the oven and roast the cauliflower for 45 minutes. 

Remove it from the oven and smear the soft butter over the surface. Sprinkle with a four-finger pinch of salt. Roast the cauliflower for another 30 to 45 minutes, basting it several times with the butter, which will have browned. 

It’s done when you can insert a paring knife into it and feel no resistence. It should be completely tender.

A delicious thing to do with the browned butter: whisk in lemon juice, minced anchovies, and whatever chopped herb you prefer–serve with the cauliflower

Grilled Aubergine Rolls filled with Ricotta, Balsamico Vinegar and Basil
As a starter for 4 you need
big aubergines, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 2

olive oil to brush the slices of aubergine, around 75ml, maybe more depending on the size of the aubergines

fresh ricotta 140g / 5 ounces

heavy cream 2 tablespoons

Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons or more to taste

fresh basil leaves, cut into strips, around 10 or more to taste

salt and black pepper
Set your oven to grill.

Brush the aubergines with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Grill in the oven until golden brown and soft on both sides, they will darken partly but that’s fine. Mine needed 7 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other but that depends on the oven. Set the aubergines aside and stack them, that will keep them moist and soft.

Whisk the ricotta, cream and Balsamico vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the basil. Spread a teaspoon of the ricotta cream on top of each slice of aubergine and roll lengthwise.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Happy New Year wishes.

For the new year, the paintings on exhibition in the studio have been changed to fit into a new theme; Small, simple steps.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh 

Terry has used her magic to create a word painting for the exhibition, and I now have an Artist Statement to go with the bio.

A tad grubby after a morning paddle. Polly not so sure about the surf-skies and paddles, or the seal flapping lazily in the water near the jetty where the tide had delivered a smorgasbord of fresh fish.

Who would have that such a small painting could be so demanding. The dingy insignificant in the face of the elements. Reinforced by pushing the composition up in the canvas, cropping the mast. My hand taking strain from the daily painting. 

Quite a lot of people through the studio, and if everyone purchases the painting they love, then I will meet my – self imposed – financial objectives. Half of the small 20cmx20cm paintings have been sold.

I didn’t factor into my expectation of ‘success’ for the studio, all the people who have simply loved being amongst the paintings that have lifted their weary, or troubled souls. I guess, an ever higher standard to achieve than sales?

Sweltering in paradise, and I’m fighting with my painting. Nothing too unusual about that, other than I have two going on at the same time, which is never a good idea for me. One is a simple catamaran on the lagoon. Except, I can’t get the proportions to work properly, and it’s a tad small for my fingers. Planned that way, to concentrate on simple lines. The other painting, is of green and turquoise swirls in the sea. A more abstract sort of painting, as a study for the extra larger canvas I have lurking. This one, I have no idea what I’m doing!

A picnic on the beach at Thesen for New Year’s Eve, with braai fires and tons of vegetable type things, spread on the magic picnic carpet. Amazingly, we were awake to see in the year and even did it with a dance or two! 

A miraculous year it will be.

Hobie Fun

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm